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Football Stars Take Part in FIFA Congress in Munich


Some of the most recognized names in international football have taken part in a ceremony to mark the opening of the International Football Federation's Congress in Munich, Germany.

Alcides Ghiggia and teammate Juan Carlos Gonzalez Ortiz of Uruguay were among those presented on stage at the opening ceremony. Ghiggia scored Uruguay's World Cup-winning goal in 1950. At 79 years old, he is the oldest delegate to the Congress .

England's Jack Charlton from the 1966 team and Rainer Bonhof of the 1974 Cup-winning West German team also were part of the parade of stars. Others included Mario Kempes of the 1978 Argentina squad and Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto from Brazil's 1970 team.

The former champions will be part of a 170-member group of players - including Brazilian great Pele and Argentina's Diego Maradona - who will take part in the World Cup opening ceremony Friday in Munich.

The FIFA Congress is expected to take on more serious issues Thursday, including formation of a new ethics body to fight match-fixing. The Congress also is expected to approve proposals to bring football (soccer) into line with the World Anti-Doping Agency cod

In other World Cup news:

France and Spain have completed their warmups for the World Cup football tournament with victories in international friendly games. But both teams needed late goals Wednesday to secure their wins.

Host France got an injury-time goal from Thierry Henry and an own-goal by Yun Wang to beat China, 3-1, in Saint Etienne. But France has lost Djibril Cisse for the World Cup because of a severely twisted right leg.

In Geneva, Switzerland, Fernando Torres scored the injury-time winning goal for Spain in a 2-1 win over Croatia.

Also, Australia got two late goals in its 3-1 win over Liechtenstein. Argentina beat one of its youth teams, 3-0 in Herzogenaurach. Ziad Jaziri scored twice to lead Tunisia over a team of German amateurs, 4-0 in Schweinfurt.

Meanwhile:

A medical examination is reported to have found that star striker Wayne Rooney has sufficiently recovered from a broken metatarsal in his right foot to be able to play on England's World Cup football team.

Rooney had his foot scanned at a Manchester hospital Wednesday, and English football fans spent the day in restless anticipation of the results. Doctors and club officials spent more than two hours reviewing the test results before Rooney left the hospital with a big smile, apparently cleared to play.

The 20-year-old Rooney is returning to the team's training camp in Germany to continue preparations for the World Cup. Jermain Defoe, who would have replaced Rooney on the national team, is expected to leave camp and return to England.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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